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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Wednesday, 28 November 2029

Last Minute Changes / News

Scotland 2020 will take place in Roybridge 16-23 May 2020 (see information below).

The month when things quietly fade away: see Nature Blog

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Scotland 2020: Roybridge

Plans are afoot for the SWC 2020 trip to Scotland during the week of 16 May to 23 May 2020.  We have secured a combination of properties in the small highland village of Roybridge (about 13 miles from Fort William). The area has walks of all abilities. For more information on the area, see Roybridge information. For more information about the trip and to check availability, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Translations at the National Theatre

Brian Friel’s modern classic is a powerful account of nationhood, which sees the turbulent relationship between England and Ireland play out in one quiet community.  Following a sold-out run in 2018, Ian Rickson’s exquisite production of Brian Friel's masterpiece returns at National Theatre, starring Ciaran Hinds (Game of ThronesGirl from the North Country)

Public booking starts on May 3, to book, please click here.   Meet at Kitchen Cafe on the ground floor of the National Theatre for F&B from 6pm.

Two ways of getting cheaper tickets 

£20 Friday Rush - Every Friday at 1pm, a limited number of £20 Friday Rush tickets are released online for each of the following week’s performances, excluding West End productions. These are limited to 2 per customer, per production

Day Tickets - A limited number of day tickets are available in person at 9.30am from the Ground Floor Box Office.They are priced at £15 or £18, are limited to two per customer and may offer a restricted view. For popular productions, queues may start early outside the main National Theatre entrance.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Wendover Circular via Coombe Hill

t=2.1 Length: 18km (11m)
Toughness: 7 / 10
Transport: Take the 9:27 from London Marylebone to Wendover arriving 10:15. Return trains are at xx:26 and xx:56.

This is a classic autumn Chilterns walk with plenty of woodlands, a fine lunch pub and a selection of tea choices at the end: Rumsey's Chocolaterie for those with sweet teeth, No2 Pound Street for the wine and cheese lovers and the Shoulder of Mutton for those with a thirst for beer. Combinations of these places are possible. The ending of the walk is as usual via Coombe Hill and not along the valley bottom. I would also like to try a new variation just after point [3] in the instructions, about 200m after crossing Missenden Road, which avoids some road walking and takes in more of the Chilterns escarpment.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Evening Walk - Morden Hall Park and Merton Abbey Mills (Morden to Colliers Wood)

Length: 4.6 km (2.9 mi)
Net Walking Time: 1 ½ hrs

Meet: Morden Station at 18.00 hours.
Morden station is the southern terminus of the Northern Line, and in Zone 4. Travel time from Bank is 32 minutes. Colliers Wood is 2 stops closer to Central London on the same line.

This walk will have to circumvent the core of the NT's Morden Hall Park with its rose garden etc. as that area will be shut for the day, and instead focus on the still accessible waterways, reed beds, and parkland and then follow the River Wandle in a northerly direction. After passing Deen City Farm, it passes Merton Abbey Mills, a collection of heritage industrial buildings which are now cafés, bars and restaurants.

Morden Hall Park has an interesting history. In Henry VIII's time, this area was part of Merton Abbey. In the 18th century, the area became an estate with a deer park, a cress farm, and had watermills. The last owner of the estate held large film star fairs in the 30's. The estate is now owned by the National Trust and the Hall is empty. Merton Abbey Mills is a former William Morris 'arts and crafts'-factory.

Eat/Drink: The Merton Apprentice at Merton Abbey Mills; The Charles Holden, or The Royal Standard by Colliers Wood tube station. 

For walk directions, map, and gpx/kml files click here. T=short.13

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Ashdown Forest and Pooh country

Ashurst to Forest Row and East Grinstead
Length: 17.8km (11 miles) Toughness: 5/10
or 23.3km (14.4 miles) Toughness 7/10
or 13.1km (8 miles) Toughness 4/10

09:51 East Grinstead train from Victoria (Clapham Junction 09:58, East Croydon 10:09), changing at Hurst Green (arr 10:36; dep 10:41) and arriving at Ashurst at 10:59.

Return trains from East Grinstead to Victoria are at xx:12 and xx:42 (journey time 57 mins). Buy an Off-Peak Day Return to East Grinstead, which should be accepted on the outward journey too.

It’s a long time since this walk had a Sunday outing, so here’s a chance for Sunday walkers to try it again. This is an attractive Wealden walk that passes through Ashdown Forest (Pooh country) to finish in Forest Row. Here you can follow an optional 5.5km extension along a disused railway line to East Grinstead or catch a bus there – 291 bus at 15:17 and 17:16; 270 bus at 15:16 and 18:05.

To shorten the walk to around 8 miles, you could switch to the High Weald Landscape Trail at Hartfield. This is the ending of the Eridge to Forest Row walk, and you join it before reaching the lunch pub, so you could lunch in Hartfield instead.

The suggested lunch stop is the Gallipot Inn (01892 770008) at Gallipot Street. As always on a Sunday, reserving a table is advisable. If doing the shorter ending, the suggested lunch pub is the Anchor Inn (01892 770424) in Hartfield.

You will need to download the Walk Directions. If doing the shorter ending, you'll also need pages 7 to 8 of the Eridge to Forest Row walk directions.


A Cotswold Caper from Kingham to Charlbury

SWC 341:  Kingham to Charlbury Long Walk  (with short option) T=SWC.341

Distance:  21.7 miles or 34.9 km for those more metrically minded – short route available using SWC 246 routing (11 miles/17.6 km)

Difficulty: 4 out of 10 for the long walk; 2 out of 10 for the shorter walk

Train:  Take the 8:48 AM Great Western Hereford train from London Paddington, arriving at Kingham 10:13 AM.  Return trains from Charlbury are at 17:32; 18:36; 19:32; 20:32. Buy a day return to Kingham.

This new walk had its debut on possibly the hottest day of the year (decade?) in June when everyone headed to the sea for a cooling dip…SO, I thought I would give it another shot in cooler conditions as the Cotswold is always lovely in the autumn….Unfortunately, since the days are already getting shorter, an early start is required for the longer route….though just think how good it will feel to maximize the day! For those doing the shorter walk, the 9:48 train would be adequate….

The long walk is largely map led, so print the map or download the GPX!  The shorter route has some more detailed instructions. More information on the long route can be found here and the short route here.

On the long walk, I would suggest having a late lunch at the lovely Swan Inn in Swinbrook (18 km/11 miles). On the short walk, the suggested lunch pub is another Swan Inn in Ascott under Wychwood (5.5 miles/8.8 km into the short walk).

There are various pubs in Charlbury for post walk bevies…

Enjoy the walk!

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Saturday Walk – Orchards and medieval bridges in the Medway valley

Extra Walk 336 – Wateringbury Circular
Length: 14 km (8.7 miles), with longer options (†‡). Toughness: 3/10

10:03 Ramsgate train from Victoria (Bromley South 10:29), changing at Paddock Wood (arr 10:58, dep 11:11) and arriving Wateringbury at 11:22. Buy a return to Wateringbury.

† You could also travel (more expensively) on the 09:25 High Speed train from St Pancras, changing at Strood (arr 09:59, dep 10:04: be quick!) to arrive at Wateringbury 46 minutes earlier at 10:36. That will give you just enough time to do the walk's 3½ km ‘preamble’ (a loop via Nettlestead) and meet the main group off the other train.

Trains back from Wateringbury are hourly at xx:36 and go to Tonbridge, where you change for stations to Victoria or Charing Cross. With a High Speed ticket you'd have the option of travelling in the other direction at xx:22, changing at Strood for St Pancras.

A few new walks in this attractive part of the Medway valley had their débuts in early spring when the apple blossom was just coming out, so here's a chance to see the resulting crop. This particular walk had its first outing on a Sunday in March, but as it was Mothers Day both of the possible lunch pubs were full and we didn't get much of a chance to try them.

If you want an early lunch stop you should reach the Good Intent in Farleigh Green by 12:30pm; about 25 minutes later the Bull Inn in East Farleigh is closer to the walk's midway point. Both are next to village greens or churchyards for those bringing sandwiches. At the end of the walk you can get tea'n'cake at the Ramblers Rest Café, just across the river from Wateringbury station.

‡ If the cake has revived you the optional post-walk extension is an extra 3 km alongside the river to the next station (Yalding; trains to Tonbridge at xx:40).

You'll need to bring the directions from the Wateringbury Circular walk page.

Peaceful ramble in the Thame Valley (no, not Thames!)

Thame Circular
Length: 21km (13 miles), or 15.2km (9.4 miles). Toughness: 3/10

10:06 Oxford train from Marylebone arriving at Haddenham & Thame Parkway at 10:40. Then catch a 280 bus at 10:53 from the station forecourt to the centre of Thame, arriving at 11:03. A return ticket may be cheaper than two singles

Return trains are at xx:13 and xx:38, (journey times 54 minutes and 40 minutes respectively). Connecting buses from Thame to the station are at xx:03, xx:33 and xx:53, taking 12 minutes

With the end of British Summer Time approaching, the opportunities for doing longer walks will become limited. This one is a scenic and easy walk north of the Chilterns through fields and quiet villages in the Thame valley on the Oxon/Bucks border. An option to shorten the walk to 15.2km is provided. Another option is to extend the walk in the morning by adding a diversion through Tiddington and Waterstock, adding 3.6km.

The recommended lunch pubs are the Clifden Arms (01844 338429) in Worminghall after 7.4 miles, or The Rising Sun (01844 339238) in Ickford after 8.3 miles. If you choose the short option, the lunch pub is The Old Fisherman (01844 201247) in Shabbington after 5.9 miles.

You will need to download the Walk Directions.


Thursday, 26 September 2019

Evening Walk - Chelsea and Battersea Park

Length: 6.0 km (if finishing at Victoria)
Net Walking Time: 1 ½ hours (if finishing at Victoria)

Meet: outside Sloane Square Tube Station (District and Circle Line, Zone 1), by the Newspaper Kiosk, at 18.30 hours.
Finish as per the route map is at London Victoria; should punters have a drink or meal in one of the establishments under the railway arches by Chelsea Bridge, then a bus finish from Chelsea Bridge makes more sense.

King’s Road, Chelsea Back Streets, Albert and Chelsea Bridges, Battersea Park.
At the end, punters could explore a route past the Nine Elms Thames-side development to Vauxhall Tube and Main Line stations…

For walk directions, map and gpx/kml files click here. T=short.1

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Wednesday walk Balcombe to East Grinstead - Wakehurst Place, Priest House and Weir Wood

Book 1 Walk 34 - Balcombe to East Grinstead

Length: 17.2 km (10.7 miles)
Toughness:  6 out of 10     Probably over-rated. No serious hills.

London Bridge: 10-05 hrs    Thameslink service from Bedford to Brighton.  East Croydon  10-19 hrs
Arrive Balcombe: 10-46 hrs

London Victoria: 09-55 hrs  Brighton service   CJ 10-02 hrs
Arrive East Croydon: 10-11 hrs   Change trains
Leave East Croydon: 10-19 hrs   Thameslink service as above
Arrive Balcombe: 10-46 hrs


East Grinstead to Victoria: 06 and 36 mins past the hour up to and including 17-36, then 17-512. 18-06, 18-21 and 18-36 hrs.  Change at East Croydon for return to London Bridge.

Rail ticket

A little tricky: a Balcombe return is not usually accepted by rail staff at East Grinstead station, They usually require you to possess a ticket from East Grinstead to East Croydon. So you choose: either a day return to Balcombe, plus a single from East Grinstead to East Croydon, or buy separate off peak singles, London to Balcombe, and East Grinstead to London, or buy a day return to Balcombe and try sweet talking your way though the barriers at East Grinstead: again, your choice !

This pleasant walk takes you via Balcombe Lake through gentle wooded hills as you make your way to Wakehurst Place, the seed conservation and germination centre for Kew Gardens aka the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Free access to the facilities for National Trust members. The public footpaths through the complex are open to all. The Seed Cafe in the complex makes for an early lunch stop (after 3 miles). Otherwise, the walk continues through woodland and open land as you make your way to the village of West Hoathly, where you stop for lunch at the popular - and usually very good - Cat Inn

After lunch you pass through more woods as you cross the embankment for the Bluebell Railway. You then head for Stone Farm Rocks where rock climbers practise their skills on the sandstone rocks. Onwards then around Weir Wood Reservoir, at times on the Sussex Border path, then on into East Grinstead. 
Walk Directions are here: L=1.34

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Sunday Walk: Newest, oldest, biggest - Riddlesdown to Coulsdon South

Book 2, walk 15
10.4 miles, 16.8km or, with shortcut, 7.8 miles 12.5km.
Difficulty 4/10
Take a trip through England's newest National Nature Reserve, a designation that will help preserve some of the green belt's finest commons, including Happy Valley and Farthing Down,
Marvel at one of England's oldest and biggest surviving wall paintings in Chaldon Church.
Trains: Get the 09:51 East Grinstead train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 09:58 E Croydon 10:09) arriving Riddlesdown 10:17.
Trains back: xx:20 & xx:57 from Coulsdon South to Victoria.
Both stations are within travelcard zone 6. A travel card out to zone 6 may be best.
Lunch The Fox, Coulsdon Common 01883 330 401. Busy, efficient and, according to their website, "oozing rustic charm and rural character". There's a possible earlier stop in Wattenden - the Wattenden Arms, open from 12.
Tea:  Chaldon Church serves tea and cakes between 3 and 4.30 summer Sundays. Nearer the station, the Poppy Café in the Memorial Gardens (across the road from Reddown Rd) is open to 3.30. There is a Caffe Nero, 5 mins north of the station at 132 Brighton Road, open until 5pm on Sundays. The walk notes also give directions to a pub, the Pembroke. (If visiting the Pembroke, note that Coulsdon's other station, Coulsdon Town, has no trains today).
Walk Directions: here. It is possible to take a shortcut in the afternoon (option a).

Sunday Walk: Hey, Wayne! Get offa my slime! - Manningtree Circular.

Book 1 walk 39
Length: 17.3 km. 10.7 miles
Difficulty:  4/10
A walk through Dedham Vale area of outstanding natural beauty, revisiting scenes from Constable’s paintings, including The Haywain. (Haywain, get it - Hey Wayne? Oh, never mind).
There's some interesting churches along the way.
The one in Stratford St Mary has unusual flint lettering round the outside.
Plans to give East Bergholt's church a tower were postponed after Cardinal Wolsey's downfall. Five centuries later, the bells are still rung by hand in a "temporary" cage in the churchyard. Inside the church, see if you can find an early camel and the "putrid slime" alluded to above. That's your task for today.
Trains: 9:30 Norwich train from Liverpool St., arriving Manningtree at 10:28.
Return trains at xx:19 and x:53.
Lunch: the Sun Inn, Dedham 01206 323351 serving lunch from 12-3.
Or the Dedham Craft Centre cafe 01206 322677.
Also in Dedham, the Essex Rose tea room 01206 323101.
Tea: the National Trust tearooms at Flatford Bridge, open till 5.
Directions: here .
The walk can be shortened by missing out Stratford St Mary.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Great Missenden Circular

CW2 4c Great Missenden Circular

Length: 16 km (10 miles). Toughness: 3/10

Catch the 10:27 from London Marylebone arrives Great Missenden 11:08.

Return trains: xx:02 xx:32

This is a walk option that uses the initial section of CW1 Walk 5 up to [3] to then use 4c walk directions for a Great Missenden Circular walk. All directions are contained in the main document including the CW1 Walk 5 directions up to [3].

Lunch at Cock & Rabbit, The Lee.


Saturday Walk: Stonegate Circular

9,6 miles/15.5km

A walk in a quiet part of the Weald, passing by Rudyard Kipling's former rural retreat at Bateman's.

Trains: Take the 10:15 Hastings service from Charing Cross (10:24 London Bridge), arriving at Stonegate at 11;26. Return trains from Stonegate at xx23/53.

Lunch: The Rose and Crown, Burwash (01435 882600), 160m down the High Street from the church. A short way further on is The Bear Inn (01435 882540).

The Wheel Inn at Burwash Weald is a possible mid-afternoon stop. Near the end of the walk you can detour to a farm shop for a cold drink.

Click here for full details and walk directions